The Codex of Camaldoli




The Codex of Camaldoli is a document the original title of which was For the Christian Community From 18 to 24 July 1943 a group of intellectuals – laymen and religious Catholics – met together in the Benedictine monastery of Camaldoli under the guidance of mons. Adriano Bernareggi who was an ecclesiastic assistant to the graduates of Catholic Action. 

Their aim was to exchange views and reflect on the social teachings of the Church on issues that concerned society, on the relationships between individual and State, and between the common good and individual liberty.

The intention was to produce a work of social culture to update the Codex of Malines, the first attempt at Catholic social doctrine produced by the International Union of Social Studies in Malines in Belgium, beginning with the contributions that were made during the week of the seminar in which Giorgio La Pira was an active participant.

The 25 July and later events changed the agenda which had envisaged broad participation and Sergio Paronetto, Pasquale Saraceno, Ezio Vanoni and Giuseppe Capograssi were entrusted with drafting of the document, which reached completion and was published in 1944. Its contents are as follows:

•  Terms
•  Presentation  
•  Premise on the spiritual foundation of social life
•  I – State
•  II – Family
•  III – Education
•  IV – Work
•  V – Production and Exchange
•  VI – Economic Activity
•  VII – International Life

One of the essential characteristics of the “Codex” is its identification of social justice as one of the primary aims of the State on a par with safeguarding freedom. This aspect was to have a marked effect on Catholic intellectuals of the “social” wing of Christian Democracy and also in drafting the Italian Constitution.